JERUSALEM (Nov. 23)
The achievements of the Jewish Agency in the absorption of hundreds of thousands of immigrants in Israel were underlined here today by Golda Myerson, Labor Minister, addressing the current session of the Zionist Actions Committee. Mrs. Myerson also reported on the liquidation of the temporary immigrant work villages.
Gershon Agron, member of the Actions Committee, questioned why so few young immigrants came from the United States, Britain and South Africa, pointing out that only 224 youths came to Israel from the United States last year. He pleaded for a revival of the pioneering spirit of Zionism.
Itzhak Raphael, head of the immigration department of the Jewish Agency, reported that the gates of Rumania have been shut to Jewish emigration for the last eight months. At the same time, he emphasized that most of the Jews in Hungary are anxious to immigrate to Israel.
Dr. George Josephtal, Jewish Agency treasurer, speaking at the session, urged the speediest liquidation of the Maabarot, the temporary immigrant work villages, and the transfer of the inhabitants of these villages to productive employment.
Dr. Emanuel Neumann and Mrs. Rose Halprin, Agency executive members, reported on the possibilities of attracting foreign investment to Israel and emphasized that through joint efforts the Agency and the Israel Government can eliminate some of the difficulties which Israel now faces in stimulating the flow of private Jewish capital from abroad.
Levi Eshkol, head of the Agency’s settlement department, said that Israel had made great strides towards self-sufficiency in foodstuffs. He pointed out that while the government allocated 60 million pounds for food imports, Israel’s agricultural output is valued at almost 125 million pounds, besides the 20 million pounds in foreign currency earned from exports of citrus fruit.
Water-drilling programs, he reported would provide a total of 600 million cubic meters of water this year as compared to 215 million last year. Discovery of new water sources between Beersheba and Elath, he said, “opens a new chapter in conquering and settling the Negev.”
Mr. Eshkol proposed a five-year program to establish 60 new settlements annually, involving some 25, 000 to 30,000 farming units and to consolidate some 350 existing settlements. This colonization plan, he said, would fit into the Government’s plan to liquidate the immigrant villages in the next two to three years.
He estimated that these colonization plans would require 250 million pounds and said that “the Zionist movement must regard this settlement enterprise in its widest connotation as the principal anvil for its activities.” He said the movement would have to devote the greater part of its resources, financial and human, to this task.